Media executives launch billion dollar pitch for AFL rights

The AFL is set to strike a new multibillion-dollar deal to broadcast matches across Australia, but will pit its potential broadcast partners against each other for the final time on Monday in a bid to maximize the money for the code.

Media companies Nine Entertainment Co, Paramount, Seven West Media and Foxtel will present top AFL executives with what industry sources describe as a silent auction designed to keep the pressure on current broadcast partners and generate more money than the $946 million given to the sport over the next two years.

The AFL is on the verge of a new multi-billion dollar deal.Credit:Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The media sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are commercially confidential, said the AFL had arranged the back-to-back meetings for Monday despite the terms of a new deal all but signed with Seven and Foxtel. They are asking each broadcaster for their best final offers and a deal could be inked before the end of the week.

Some executives believe the move is a way to maximize incumbents’ cash, while others have suggested talks are ongoing as a deal could yet be struck with this masthead owner Nine and his service. Stan.

Nine, Paramount, Seven, Foxtel and the AFL declined to comment.

Regardless of the outcome, the AFL could receive up to $50 million a year more than its current deal, bringing a five-year deal to $2.6 billion. The AFL’s last long-term contract was for $2.5 billion and lasted six years. The current deal runs from 2022 to 2024 and costs broadcasters $946 million in cash-and-cons (free advertising).

AFL chairman Richard Goyder and CEO Gillon McLachlan were spotted alongside Seven West Media’s billionaire chairman Kerry Stokes during the game between the Fremantle Dockers and the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, which has led some industry executives to believe that the deal was basically done. Other media and AFL sources said the sporting body would not hold the meetings on Monday if that were the case.

Seven and Foxtel were at loggerheads for months over key elements of a future deal, including the number of live unscrambled matches. The AFL was considering delaying two free games each week for up to two hours in interstate markets to give Foxtel more exclusivity for its Kayo Sports streaming service.

Media sources said those concerns were now resolved. A new deal will lead to AFL matches in New South Wales and Queensland being shown live exclusively on Foxtel and up to two hours delayed on Channel Seven under terms that have been agreed. There will be no change in the number of late games in South Australia and Western Australia and Victoria will not be affected, the sources say.

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